ANNE SEXTON – FOR JOHNNY POLE ON THE FORGOTTEN BEACH

anne sexton

FOR JOHNNY POLE ON A FORGOTTEN BEACH

In his tenth July some instinct
taught him to arm the waiting wave,
a giant where its mouth hung open.
He rode on the lip that buoyed him there
and buckled him under. The beach was strung
with children paddling their ages in,
under the glare of noon chipping
its light out. He stood up, anonymous
and straight among them, between
their sand pails and nursery crafts.
The breakers cartwheeled in and over
to puddle their toes and test their perfect
skin. He was my brother, my small
Johnny brother, almost ten. We flopped
down upon a towel to grind the sand
under us and watched the Atlantic sea
move fire, like night sparklers;
and lost our weight in the festival
season. He dreamed, he said, to be
a man designed like a balanced wave…
how someday he would wait, giant
and straight.
Johnny, your dream moves summers
inside my mind.
He was tall and twenty that July,
but there was no balance to help;
only the shells came straight and even.
This was the first beach of assault;
the odor of death hung in the air
like rotting potatoes, the junkyard
of landing craft waited open and rusting.
The bodies were strung out as if they were
still reaching for each other, where they lay
to blacken, to burst through their perfect
skin. And Johnny Pole was one of them.
He gave in like a small wave, a sudden
hole in his belly and the years all gone
where the Pacific noon chipped its light out.
Like a bean bag, outflung, head loose
and anonymous, he lay. Did the sea move fire
for its battle season? Does he lie there
forever, where his rifle waits, giant
and straight?…I think you die again
and live again,
Johnny, each summer that moves inside
my mind.

ANNE SEXTON

A feeling readily recognised. Loss of the innocence of youth, coupled with actual loss, becomes a very active metaphor for life. Anne Sexton always finds the words to describe a sensitive poignant feeling we may all have to face at some point in our lives.

Dale

SHARED VALUES

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(LANDSCAPE AS ABSTRACT EXPRESSIONISM: VIEW FROM THE LAWN THIS MORNING)

SHARED VALUES

 

Sitting outside after tea, looking at the gentle wallow of the tide, as it slowly leaves the bay, I was thinking about my Marie…How much she loved this forgotten part of the welsh coast, and although it makes me feel sad that she is not here to share these moments, I began to think of our shared values. She introduced me to this beautiful spot and knew how much I would love it. It is so quiet and peaceful and literally a tuning fork for contemplation. My thought was, that although she is not here, the values we shared are still innate within me. Our love of landscape, nature and peaceful thought remains in me, and so through this, she remains within me. She was able to inculcate these values which had for a large part been overshadowed by other more pressing needs in my life… like the need to provide for my family, the need to escape the vicious tongue of my ex….

My life had become jaded and jagged, my mind torn into desperate and disparate pieces, in essence, I was overcome by the mores of modern society… But she was able to make me see beyond that and truly appreciate real timeless beauty of place, of thought and of art.

She may no longer occupy this corporeal realm, but those values she inhabited are the essence of her, and they will be with me forever.

God bless you, my beloved.

Thank you for loving me as much as I loved , and love, you.

DALE ‘M’

HOLIDAY PLAYLIST

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HOLIDAY PLAYLIST

  1. Holiday – Madonna
  2. Holiday Song – Pixies
  3. Holiday – Vampire Weekend
  4. Billy Holiday – Warpaint
  5. Every day Will be like a Holiday – William Bell
  6. Holidays in the Sun – Sex Pistols
  7. Holiday – Happy Mondays
  8. Holidays in Cambodia – Dead Kennedys
  9. Roman Holiday – Camera Obscura
  10. Bank Holiday – Blur
  11. Holiday – The Birthday Massacre
  12. Lover Man (oh where can you be) – Billy Holiday
  13. Dreadlock Holiday – 10CC
  14. HOLIDAY – DIZZEE RASCAL

MARIE BOOKED A HOLIDAY FOR US AND ALL MY KIDS, FOR THE FIRST TIME, WE WERE GOING AWAY TOGETHER, SO NEXT WEEK I SHALL BE AWAY. IT’S GOING TO BE WEIRD, BUT I’M NOW LOOKING FORWARD TO IT. I THINK MAYBE I’M COMING OUT OF THE OTHER SIDE… SIX MONTHS HAVE PASSED AND I HAVEN’T CRIED FOR A WEEK. I STILL THINK OF HER EVERY FIVE SECONDS OR SO, BUT SINCE I THOUGHT THAT SHE IS EVERYWHERE, I SEEM TO BE ABLE TO LIVE WITH IT.

LET’S HOPE THAT I CAN KEEP THIS PERSPECTIVE

Dale ‘M’

SCATTERING THE ASHES

 

Took my beloved’s ashes to scatter at Dovedale in Derbyshire.  It was a nice morning and I needed to do something to lift my despair. So I scattered her ashes in the river and bade her farewell, have a good journey down to the ocean my love… catch you up on the next tide. Of course I ended up wearing some of her… Things happen that way for me. I make everything difficult for myself. At least my dogs got to have a good walk!

In the end, the ashes are not her. The ashes are no more her than the contents of the vacuum cleaner. I was holding on to them as if they were her, but the her I love is now inside me, a memory of true love. I will cherish that part of her for the rest of my days.

Dale ‘M’

CLIMATE CHANGE – THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM

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There are now 250, 000 scientific papers on climate change (source: inside science radio 4) can you imagine that? How much paper does that in fact take? Are papers about climate change actually contributing to climate change? I mean, you imagine the amount of trees that amount of papers consume. Poor innocent living, breathing trees chopped down in the prime of their life… and for what? To  go to describe the destruction of rain forests?

Ok. I shall say this only once. I have been campaigning for green issues for over 30 years, and this is the simple truth and nobody will say this. World pollution is a product of capitalism. That’s it. very simple. Dismantle capitalism, stop creating exponential growth to create interest which can be skimmed off for the capitalist moguls, and we can save the world. Stop consuming and start sharing, create small units of humanity who work together in meaningful ways to make their community better.

That is the only way to stop pollution, climate change etc etc etc. Of course nobody will accept this analysis, because Capitalism is God. So thanks for all your campaigning against plastic waste in the ocean, about the destruction of the forests, about the loss of bio-diversity, but if you do not take this bitter pill… Your world is doomed.

Dale

TALKING WAVES

I’ve always been obsessed with waves, and this week has been amazing. I have taken literally hundreds of pictures of waves. As the chalet is so secluded and difficult to reach, I wasn’t able to bring my paints down with me, so I’m hoping that these pictures will provide inspiration for a series of paintings when I get home. Just one more day then back to the grim north… Oh well, its been a real pleasure to live out my Robinson Crusoe fantasy for one week!

Dale

ANNE SEXTON – FOR JOHNNY POLE ON THE FORGOTTEN BEACH

anne sexton

FOR JOHNNY POLE ON A FORGOTTEN BEACH

In his tenth July some instinct
taught him to arm the waiting wave,
a giant where its mouth hung open.
He rode on the lip that buoyed him there
and buckled him under. The beach was strung
with children paddling their ages in,
under the glare of noon chipping
its light out. He stood up, anonymous
and straight among them, between
their sand pails and nursery crafts.
The breakers cartwheeled in and over
to puddle their toes and test their perfect
skin. He was my brother, my small
Johnny brother, almost ten. We flopped
down upon a towel to grind the sand
under us and watched the Atlantic sea
move fire, like night sparklers;
and lost our weight in the festival
season. He dreamed, he said, to be
a man designed like a balanced wave…
how someday he would wait, giant
and straight.
Johnny, your dream moves summers
inside my mind.
He was tall and twenty that July,
but there was no balance to help;
only the shells came straight and even.
This was the first beach of assault;
the odor of death hung in the air
like rotting potatoes, the junkyard
of landing craft waited open and rusting.
The bodies were strung out as if they were
still reaching for each other, where they lay
to blacken, to burst through their perfect
skin. And Johnny Pole was one of them.
He gave in like a small wave, a sudden
hole in his belly and the years all gone
where the Pacific noon chipped its light out.
Like a bean bag, outflung, head loose
and anonymous, he lay. Did the sea move fire
for its battle season? Does he lie there
forever, where his rifle waits, giant
and straight?…I think you die again
and live again,
Johnny, each summer that moves inside
my mind.

ANNE SEXTON

A feeling readily recognised. Loss of the innocence of youth, coupled with actual loss, becomes a very active metaphor for life. Anne Sexton always finds the words to describe a sensitive poignant feeling we may all have to face at some point in our lives.

Dale

DREAMING OF THE BEACH

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DREAMING OF THE BEACH (1969)

Dreaming of the beach,

We shuffled out of bed,

And down to the car,

With gritty eyes and demob smiles…

It was still dark.

 

Dressed in haste, with scant regard

for the pre-dawn chill,

We sat and shivered in shorts and t-shirts,

In the back of an old Hillman Minx.

 

The car was packed around us.

And we snuggled back down,

The bedding pressed into the cab spaces,

And dreaming of the beach…

We missed the first few hours of the journey.

 

There was a stop for breakfast,

And then on through the litany

Of small Welsh towns…

Monmouth, Abergavenny,Brecon,

Llandovery, Llandeilo, Carmarthan …

Each an interminable distance,

In the bumper to bumper existence,

Of a Whitsun weekend.

 

And then the promise,

St.Clears and a sign which said,

15 miles to Tenby.

And we are both excitedly looking

For the first sight of the sea,

Beyond the hedgerows,

Over The next brow of a hill…

The long plunge down

like a rollercoaster,

To the sea… The sea!

 

And we arrive at the Farm,

Negotiate our pitch.

We do not care about this,

The sea can be seen…

And we want to be in it.

Now.

Another negotiation…

“Fill the water can and you can take your little brother

Down to the Beach whilst we put the tent up.”

A chore… The 5 gallon Jerry can is bigger than I am.

I half- fill the can and struggle back to the disaster zone:

Which is my Father’s erection technique.

Mum crushes our enthusiasm…

You need to pump up your airbeds first!

 

Dad gives us a get out of jail card…

Let them go.

We go.

The beach is a long trek away.

Along way down a steep path.

We run and fall,

we run and smile…

Eager for the thrill.

The soft landing

from our helter skelter

Dash….

The sand and the sea…

And the promise of a week

spreading in front of us,

like a banquet,

a smorgasbord  of sensory delight…

This is what we have waited for,

Dreaming of the beach.

Dreams that crystallise

Into a life-long obsession.

Dale

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HERE’S THE THING

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These two tubes are labelled light green and light blue. The one on the right, looks blue to me, the one on the left looks lilac. It’s a little thing, the blue/green/lilac colour blindness, I mean my son is colour-blind on red, orange brown and green… That must be awful. My Granddad  was a great artist, but painted black roses thinking they were red… He did what I have tended to do, work in black and white… I still have two of his beautiful pen and ink pictures. He died in the war, so I never got to meet him… But I’m still proud of who he was.

My problem with my own colour-blindness is that I love the ocean and I love nature… So it is so frustrating that I can’t paint them as they are in reality. I try to use tones to create a mood poem of what the ocean and trees mean to me. But, so far, I have never been able to fulfil my creative ambition. Last night, I felt very sorry for myself… But then I looked at the paintings I have done and I thought of all the people who would love to be able to paint like that… Even if I do disparage myself by calling it paint by numbers…

So the moral of this little homily?

I guess: concentrate on the things you can do,

don’t let your shortcomings overwhelm you,

Just keep swimming!

Love to all

Dale